Riot Games has recently released a survey regarding the issues surrounding the events that transpired in MSI 2022. Despite the event being long concluded, the community is still angry about the situation leading to supposed favoritism that the esports organization showed to the LPL representatives that eventually won the entire event. We must ask ourselves – is Riot Games biased towards certain regions when it comes to esports?
Recapping the Mid-Season Invitational 2022
The Mid-Season Invitationals 2022 began with controversy as the tournament organizers announce that the LPL representatives would participate in the tournament remotely due to the re-rising threat of Covid-19 in China, a courtesy that wasn’t extended to Vietnam when they couldn’t attend the tournament due to the same reason. However, many stated that the situation was different as in this case, the tournament was closer to the unavailable team meaning there was possibility to play at lower ping.
The LPL’s Royal Never Give Up played remotely in its first week but after it was discovered that their games had lower artificial pings as compared to their opponents, all their games were nullified, resulting in their 3-0 week to revert back to 0-0. They played additional games but eventually ended the Group Stage 9-0. On social media, RNG claimed that they were treated unfairly but had no choice but to accept the decision and push through.
After the Group Stage, Royal Never Give Up swept their first round of playoffs to play against the tournament favorites in T1. The series was close-knit but RNG eventually won the series creating a mixed reaction from fans all over the world. Many do not believe that the LPL representative’s victory is legitimate because they had the comfort of playing at home. A statement that can also be said to the LCK representatives who were playing in Korea.
Did RNG Truly Get Biased Treatment?
Is Riot Games biased for allowing RNG to participate? The answer isn’t exactly simple as even the teams and regions involved in the tournament all agreed that the LPL needs to compete. However, the matter of artificial ping was handled poorly and inconvenienced not only the players in Korea, but also the LPL representatives as well. Additionally, RNG claims to have declined to participate in MSI to keep competitive integrity but Riot Games urged them to participate.
Many think that Riot Games biased treatment exists for the LPL due to League of Legends’ mother company being Tencent, a Chinese-owned company. However, the tournament wasn’t organized by the LPL and was actually arranged by the LCK, since the tournament was being held in Korea. That being said, why was China allowed to compete when Vietnam wasn’t extended the same solution when they couldn’t compete?
Vietnam failed to participate in Worlds 2020 and 2021 as well as MSI 2021 due to Covid-19. However, they weren’t allowed to compete unlike the LPL. For Vietnam, it was impossible for them to attend Worlds 2021 and MSI 2021 since both were held in Iceland. Riot Games couldn’t possibly make the ping stable enough to keep competitive integrity. In Worlds 2020, the spread of Covid-19 was at its height and there was a low chance that the organizers were even considering the possibility of remote play early on.
Is Riot Games Biased Towards the LPL?
It would be lying if we didn’t believe that there was a degree of bias when it comes to their treatment of the LPL. After all, there were instances when the LPL had privileges that were not extended to other regions such as being allowed to bring media crew to the tournament when other regions were strictly banned from doing so. That being said, the likelihood of the LPL being given more advantages to win by Riot Games is purely conspiracy.
Each region is given its own jurisdiction and the ability to organize their own tournaments. This means that any flaws in the tournament structure outside of international tournaments are the fault of the region itself. The LPL having 17 teams and a round robin best-of-3 format is something that other regions can do as well but many choose not to do so as to preserve competitive integrity and interest into a more manageable state.
Is Riot Games Biased Towards Other Regions?
Many claim that Riot Games is also biased towards the LCS (North America) since they are keeping them as a major region despite declining performances from the region in international tournaments. Fans claimed that the LCS doesn’t deserve its status as a major region and should have no more than two slots at Worlds, similar to the PCS and VCS. However, the only thing keeping them from doing so is because Riot Games is a North American company.
Looking deeper into the performance of the LCS, even though they’ve failed to achieve anything significant in the current League of Legends era, they have been performing better as compared to other minor regions. In recent years, they have managed to place 2nd in MSI and have recently made it into the quarterfinals of Worlds. A feat that neither the PCS or VCS managed to achieve nor did any of the wildcard regions as well.
Can Riot Games Improve The Tournament Structures?
Definitely. Riot Games needs to improve its League of Legends esports structure as it is currently the worst esports structure among all of its competitors in every genre. The exclusivity of the handling has made the entertainment factor stale with months of countless games between good and bad teams and only about 4 weeks worth of interesting games in the entire year, with most of them being held at Worlds.
The introduction of sponsored major tournaments similar to that of CS:GO can really drive competitiveness upwards. The monopoly that Riot Games had over League of Legends esports after IEM simply made the scene boring. Hopefully, Riot Games allows other organizers to take part in the esports if every they plan for the scene to prosper in the future.